Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


“Always Find Ways to be More Efficient” SMACNA Board Member: Thomas E. Martin of Cleveland

May 31, 2018

Thomas E. MartinWhen Thomas E. Martin, president of T.H. Martin Inc., Cleveland, was attending Ohio University on a football scholarship, he wasn’t sure about following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather into the sheet metal industry. But when he returned to Cleveland after graduation in 1992, he helped his dad out running one project at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, and that was all it took. He was hooked for life.

Tom is now heading his family-run business as president of T.H. Martin Inc. He is also president of the SMACNA-Cleveland chapter. His brother, Mike Martin, serves as company vice president and partner. His father, Thomas H. Martin, who founded the company in 1985, has semi-retired and still comes into the office when he is in town.

T.H. Martin Inc. is a full-service mechanical contractor that employs about 100 sheet metal workers and 50 pipe and service fitters. About 60 percent of the company’s work is in HVAC, with the rest in design-build, service and maintenance, and custom fabrication.

We asked him some of the things he’s learned in business and the advice he would give to new leaders:

  • What is the thing most people notice first about your shop? The cleanliness and lean principles of our fabrication shop. We have designated prefab stations and keep materials off our shop floor for better efficiency. We strive to keep everything smooth and efficient.

  • What is most rewarding about being in the HVAC business? I like being able to offer customers options and solutions that provide comfort while also being highly efficient.

  • What is most challenging about being in the HVAC business? Making sure that we are always up-to-speed and trained on new products and technology in our industry.

  • What is the new technology you are most excited about? CAD and BIM software, 2D, 3D, and 4D modeling. It is exciting to be able to design, draw, and implement using the most updated software.

  • What is your secret to running a successful business? To sit down and listen to my employees and customers and be willing to implement changes when they are needed. We can never stand pat. We must always find ways to be more efficient.

  • What are you most proud of? Working with my brother Mike to expand and diversify our company. We have never walked away from a job and we never will.

  • What is your advice for industry newbies? Do your job to the best of your ability. If you have questions, ask. Take care of our customers.

  • What are your outside interests? Golfing and fishing.

  • What is your favorite motto? Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.

  • Which sports teams do you cheer for? Cleveland Cavs, Indians, and Browns.

  • What was your first car? 1977 Ford Mustang.

  • What is something you look forward to? Watching my son and daughter go through high school and do well scholastically and athletically.

A champion of energy efficiency, Martin brings a broad perspective including more than 25 years of experience in the HVAC and sheet metal industry to SMACNA National. Martin is serving his second term as the SMACNA Cleveland chapter president and in October 2017 was elected to a four-year term on SMACNA National’s Board of Directors.

Martin is highly engaged both personally and professionally with SMACNA, currently serving as chair of SMACNA’s HVAC Contractors Council Steering Committee, the Products and Programs Coordinating Committee, and the Contractor Operations Manual Task Force. He is a Chairman’s Club-level member of SMAC PAC and is a member of SMACNA’s National Strategic Planning Task Force.

To get involved and help shape the industry, members can join a SMACNA committee by visiting and going to “Board/Committee Application Forms” on the “About Us” webpage.